ICAR sci­en­tists to study ter­mite in­fested ham­let

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - REGION - Mukesh Rawat mukesh.rawat@htlive.com

ALMORA: In re­sponse to the re­port car­ried by HT on Tues­day about Lam­bari, a far-flung vil­lage in Almora district of Ut­tarak­hand, sci­en­tists from the In­dian Coun­cil of Agri­cul­tural Re­search (ICAR) have ex­pressed will­ing­ness to visit the ter­mite-in­fested vil­lage and carry out re­search to solve the prob­lem.

In an e-mail to HT, the sci­en­tists said a re­search team from ICAR, the coun­try’s premier agri­cul­tural re­search or­gan­i­sa­tion in Delhi, would like to visit the vil­lage for re­search and ex­ten­sion pur­pose. “We are the re­search team of ICAR Na­tional Fel­low Project, ex­clu­sively work­ing on ter­mite prob­lems and their so­lu­tions. Your re­cent ar­ti­cle on ter­mite prob­lems at Lam­bari, Ut­tarak­hand has drawn our at­ten­tion to this se­ri­ous is­sue. We would like to visit the place for re­search and ex­ten­sion pur­pose,” they said in the mail.

Speak­ing to HT over phone, Dr Ga­gan Ku­mar Ma­ha­p­a­tro, prin­ci­pal sci­en­tist divi­sion of en­to­mol­ogy, ICAR-IARI said the team was plan­ning to visit Lam­bari on Fe­bru­ary 28. How­ever, a fi­nal call on the date will be taken af­ter fur­ther de­lib­er­a­tions.

For the last three decades, Lam­bari has been in­fested with ter­mites. Pe­ti­tions to the ad­min­is­tra­tion and po­lit­i­cal class has re­sulted in noth­ing save hol­low as­sur­ances. Since early 1990s the district ad­min­is­tra­tion has been pro­vid­ing nor­mal in­sec­ti­cides to con­trol the pest. How­ever, they have proved to be in­ef­fec­tive.

In 1994, 1998 and 2009, elab­o­rate work plan to solve the is­sue was de­vised but the state govern­ment re­fused funds for them. Teams of sci­en­tists from the GB Pant Univer­sity of Agri­cul­ture and Tech­nol­ogy had also vis­ited Lam­bari in 1998 and 2009. How­ever, their sug­ges­tions have not been im­ple­mented.

In 2009, the team in its re­port said se­vere dam­age has oc­curred in houses and ter­mites are also caus­ing dam­age to crops. It is found that even fruit trees are in­fected. 40% of the chir pine trees in the for­est around the vil­lage are un­der ter­mite at­tack. The team had said ter­mites are slowly spread­ing to neigh­bour­ing vil­lages such as Chippa, Chin­toli and Kalialuna where 5-25% ter­mite ef­fect was recorded.

In­for­ma­tion ac­cessed from RTI filed by HT re­veals that the ad­min­is­tra­tion has nei­ther the funds nor the ex­per­tise to con­trol the sit­u­a­tion.

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